Exercise 2 of the Gombe 50 Activity Set
We began our endeavour to spread the word of Roots & Shoots by conducting a region wide social experiment in order to highlight to the agents some of the fundamental difficulties faced by Jane Goodall when she started campaigning on behalf of the Chimpanzees of the Gombe National Park.
In order to do this we constructed a Scarecrow and entered him in a competition whereby people had to vote on line for their favourite entry. Most of those displayed were from schools across the Highlands and we wanted to see if people would vote for our entry without any information being given about the group.
The results were as we suspected and proved in a very visual way to the agents, why it is important to raise awareness about issues both within and out with one’s local community. We were hoping to show that people do not, not contribute because they don’t care, but because they are not informed.
Having demonstrated the effects of not actively raising awareness of an issue or project we then needed to assess the best ways in which to demonstrate the effects raising awareness has; and although had a rough idea of the kind of methods we wanted to us, we needed to assess the level of content we were going to put into our presentations be they verbal, visual or written.
Following discussion we decided that we would compile information during the first of a number of Gala’s and Fetes we were due to attend with Nick Martin an Animal Rescue Expert, before finalising details.
We did not have to wait long as the first of our outings took place on the 9th of July with the agents spending hour after hour talking and demonstrating to the public not only the exotic and endangered species they were handling, but the principles of the Roots & Shoots Mission Possible Project.
They had their photo taken for a local paper, helped raise funds for the SSPCA and Nick’s Centre, elicited assurances from countless individuals that they would visit the centre in person and recruited members for Nick’s Creepy Crawly Club.
Over the course of the summer the group participated in many activities involving direct contact with the public, and in doing we have discovered how responsive and willing individuals are, to the idea of learning more not only about Nick and his animals but other local projects and Roots & Shoots.
We developed a pledge board as a means of allowing people to demonstrate their intentions and/or actions which have had a positive impact on their community and the environment; unfortunately we have not yet had an opportunity to utilise this yet but we do foresee using it at the next couple of Gala’s.
We have distributed leaflets about the Roots & Shoots Project, and spoken to packed rooms about ourselves and the work we are doing and organised one of Nick’s Clubs. We have also made contact with numerous organisations and are contemplating establishing our own Face book Page.
The most exciting consequence of the agent’s interaction with the public this summer has been an invitation to visit a local primary school after the holidays in conjunction with Nick Martin. Over the course of the day the agents are to be given an opportunity to speak to all pupils about the Jane Goodall Organisation and the Roots & Shoots Mission Possible Project.
We have met with amazingly generous individuals who have gone that extra yard to share their knowledge with us, yet not everyone has been convinced by our endeavours and/or our message and in many ways it appears to us as if those in positions of empowerment to evoke even simple change for others, are the individuals least likely to act.
We have highlighted issues and the consequences of continued detrimental treatment in our area yet the perpetuation of injustice continues seemingly unabated, irrespective of the truth of a situation.
The agents have learned that public interest in Roots & Shoots activities is essential in determining real change, and that sometimes you have to be prepared to take a stand for your beliefs and principles regardless of the opposition.
We have undertaken a number of public appearances and recently received an invitation to host one of only six charity stalls at our Tesco Extra Community Fair, due to be held in September. We feel that such exposure means that we are actively raising awareness of local issues and spreading word of the Roots & Shoots Mission projects to literally thousands of individuals.
Another of our proposed undertakings mooted at in a number of our previous submissions is the opportunity we have been given to participate in an amazing adventure by the Clanranald Trust. They are in the process of building a full scale re-enactment of a Medieval Village and Bailey Fort at DunCarron in Lanarkshire.
This is to be an interactive educational visitor attraction which it is hoped will enable individuals to experience the atmosphere of an authentic medieval working community. The Trust intends to use this development as a centre from which to base their work with the local community, educational institutions and members of the general public; and we have been asked to assist them.
The Trust are establishing a Medieval Medicinal Herb Garden and Hospital within the village and we have been charged with identifying suitable herbs, sourcing original recipes and concocting lotions and potions for use on battle scared warriors.
In return we will be availed a number of opportunities throughout the year to give demonstrations and talks to the general public, provide information pamphlets and of course highlight our association with the Jane Goodall Organisation. One of the ways we intend to do this is to design a tongue in cheek Medieval Recycling Poster “written” by Dame Jane!
DunCarron is set to become a major tourist and educational attraction and it is an amazing opportunity for us to be involved in such a huge undertaking, albeit on a small scale.
We are in the process of arranging a meeting with Erica Hollis, a practising medical herbalist. Erica has agreed to talk to members of the group and although medieval herbs and medicines are not necessarily her thing, she certainly knows more than we do, especially about the actual making of potions etc.
We anticipate making our own head and toothache remedies by the end of the summer and we will undertake a “salves for bumps and lumps” day, once we have gained a more practical knowledge and understanding of the use of herbs as medicine.
We have been able to expand from medieval times to compare and contrast the use of natural medicines here and in the Gombe National Park as part of our search for Jane’s Lost Diary’s, and Nick Martin has been an invaluable source of information throughout this exercise.
It is not much more than a year since we decided to develop an organic garden for the amusement and distraction of children who needed to know that they still had worth and a future, irrespective of illness, disability or the opinion of others.
We wanted to restore self confidence, promote feelings of responsibility towards their local community and facilitate environmental change for the good of all.
The children identified with the principles of the Jane Goodall Organisation immediately and simply ran with the Roots & Shoots Mission Possible Projects. They have elicited change, promoted interest and a willingness to help in others, raised awareness of local, regional, national and international issues and altered public opinion.
I believe that they epitomise all that Jane Goodall has stated is good about the youth of today and when one considers that they have achieved success from positions of great personal adversity, their determination is in my opinion commendable.